These details clearly indicate that police pursuit is not the only method of nabbing the culprit. Since different alternatives are available, the police can use one of these alternatives. In the case of availability of advanced technology, police pursuit should be used as the last resort. Proper training is also required to the police in order to use high-tech devices. However, in spite of availability of these alternatives, it is found that there has been progressive increase in the death of innocent people due to the habit of the police to chase the vehicles of the suspects.
Therefore, proper training should be given to the police in order to avoid the death of large number of innocent people. (Hill 2002) Police officers have protested against the attempt to introduce restriction on pursuits as they believe that such restrictions would protect the interest of criminals. However, statistics regarding deaths due to car chases show that there is a need to restrict the freedom given to the police to chase suspect’s vehicles. (Trotter et. al, 2005) In April 2002, Tameka Anthony and his son were killed as a motorist being chased by the police hit the vehicle of unfortunate victims.
This incident and several other events have highlighted the need for introduction of reforms in order to control police pursuits. According to the details obtained from Indianapolis region for the period 2003 to 2004, the Indianapolis police are virtually unrestricted when they chase vehicles as the police drive their vehicles at high speed forcing the suspects to increase the speed of their vehicles, resulting in the death of many innocent people who happen to travel in the same road as the chasers and the chased. (Trotter et. al, 2005)
During the period 1996 to 2003 nearly 86 people died in Indianapolis due to high-speed police chase. The suspects and the police sometimes reached the speed of 170 mph, implying that these motorists found it very difficult to control their vehicles. (Trotter et. al, 2005) There are cases wherein the police chased suspects for more than 11 miles, and even then they failed to nab the criminals. These details indicate that criminals do not think about the safety of the people. Therefore, it is the duty of the police to safeguard the interest of the people by taking precautionary measures in order to avoid the death of innocent people.
(Trotter et. al, 2005) It is interesting to note that most of these police chases took place due to minor offences such as traffic violation, number plate errors or erratic driving. It is the innocent people who have been paying heavily due to the attempt of the police to catch law breakers. (Trotter et. al, 2005) There is a need to distinguish between minor and major offences, although it is important to punish all kinds of offences. However, the process of police pursuit should not lead to the death of innocent people.
Unfortunately, the police officers have claimed that they chase because they want to create fear in the mind of law breakers as it is necessary to give them impression that if they break state laws, their vehicles would be chased by the police. However, police chases have created fear among the ordinary citizens instead of law breakers as the criminals are always prepared to break rules and police chases are not going to change the attitude of criminals as they employ dangerous practices such as going at a high speed or using vehicles with greatest power so as to escape from police scrutiny and so on.
This shows that police chases have not been effective in reducing criminal activities. The police officers have been able to satisfy themselves by claiming that they performed their duty by chasing the vehicles. (Trotter et. al. 2005) More over, there is no guarantee that the police would be able to arrest the law breakers as the criminals adopt their own strategies in order to escape from the jurisdiction of police officials. It is found that most of the suspects did not commit serious offenses.
Out of 947 chases only 3 percent criminals were charged with violent felony after successful chase. (Trotter et. al, 2005) These details indicate that in most of the cases pursuits can be avoided or death of innocent people can be minimized. However, it is the police officers who need to change their mindset while taking action against the criminals. (Trotter et. al, 2005) The victim’s families have gone to the courts demanding justice and compensation for the loss of their family members. However, the court can punish only the criminals who flee from the police.
The courts do not punish the police because police cannot be punished for performing their duty. However, the police can decide whether to chase or not. This decision can save the life of many citizens who have died due to violent crashes, a result of police pursuits. Many victims’ families have blamed the police for taking initiative in chases, and thereby killing their family members. (Trotter et. al, 2005) Some police officials argue that usually they chase only when they are sure that they are chasing a felon.
They also argue that when they follow no pursuit policy, youngsters take advantage and can enjoy by challenging the police. The police claim that it is not possible to frame rules in order to give guidance to the police as they are expected to take quick decisions, and different police officers, in a given situation, can take different decisions, thereby implying that decision to chase involves subjective and deliberate actions of the police which may result in positive and negative consequences. (Buhrmaster 2006)